Frustration. That is the best way to describe the experience of reading The Polluters: The Making of Our Chemically Altered Environment. Page after page reveals the history of industries spewing toxins into our air, water, and soil and a government more apt to look the other way. Presenting the conflict through the lens of individual action and human cost, authors Benjamin Ross and Steven Amter provide an engaging and unsettling account of U.S. pollution.
Turning to the first page of The Polluters, the reader is presented with an image that will haunt the pages of the book: the funeral procession of a victim of the Donora (Pennsylvania) Smog. The burial takes place as smoke from the offending factory rises along the horizon….Read Full Article
Since World War Two, more than 80,000 new chemicals have been introduced to the market. Consumers come in contact with about 3,000 of these chemicals every day in the form of cleaning products, such as air fresheners, dishwashing detergent, and floor cleaners. These products can be accidentally ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through skin contact. Unfortunately, cleaning your home with harsh, chemical cleaning products often fills it with more toxins and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than were there to begin with, making your home even less healthy than before you “cleaned” it.
Luckily, there are several ways to ensure that your home stays clean — the green and natural way. It can be difficult to comb through every ingredient on a product label, and it can be expensive to invest in a green-certified vacuum and other cleaning items. Hiring a cleaning service is sometimes the best route to take if pressed for time. Look for a cleaning service that offers an eco-friendly option, which means that they will clean your home with green-certified products and methods….Read Full Article
June 23, 2010 by Julia Wasson
Filed under Blog, Books, Chemicals, Climate Change, Conservation, Contamination, Ecology, Environment, Events, Front Page, Global Warming, Hazardous Waste, India, Japan, Mercury, Pesticides, Slideshow, Sustainability, U.S., VOCs
As the Gulf of Mexico continues to fill with oil due to BP’s negligence and our own government agencies’ lack of oversight, we are experiencing an environmental disaster of catastrophic proportions. Tragically, this isn’t the first human-caused environmental disaster — and given our track record as stewards of this planet, it’s futile to fool ourselves that it will be the last. In his book, This Borrowed Earth: Lessons from the 15 Worst Environmental Disasters Around the World, Robert Emmet Hernan describes in detail 15 environmental disasters we must remember so that history doesn’t repeat itself.
In the book’s Introduction — penned merely months before BP’s so-called “spill,” Hernan wrote, “If we forget how and why these disasters happened and what horrible consequences emerged from them, we will not avert future disasters.” As a society, we seem to have done just what Hernan feared: We’ve forgotten. And so another disaster is upon us.
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, writes in the book’s Foreword, “In an age where we’re once again ideologically committed to ‘loosening the reins’ on private enterprise, it’s sobering to remember what has happened in the past. In an age when new technologies are barely tested before they’re put into widespread use—genetically engineered crops, for instance—it’s even more sobering to contemplate a seemingly iron-clad rule: every new machine or system seems to fail catastrophically at least once.” …Read Full Article
Decorating a room with plants is a natural choice, as plants provide an almost instantaneous sense of calm and peace. They can transform a room from average to extraordinary in an instant. And, in addition to their aesthetic value, some plants can actually improve a room’s air quality.
Choosing which plants to use takes a bit of planning for best results. But even a single plant can be the foundation for a decorating makeover. It’s hard to go wrong when decorating with plants, but there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. The following tips will help you get started.
Some plants are very good at removing harmful toxins from the air. For example, the spider plant, often used as a hanging plant, not only grows like wildfire, but is also good at absorbing harmful air pollutants and releasing beneficial oxygen. Spider plants are particularly hardy and easy for even the novice plant owner to grow….Read Full Article
Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products, and Services – by Adria Vasil
You’ve heard of alcoholics, chocoholics, workaholics, and shopaholics, but you’ve probably never heard of an ecoholic unless you’ve had the good fortune to read Adria Vasil’s book or column by the same name. Vasil defines the word ecoholic right on the cover: (when you’re addicted to the planet). Officially titled Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products, and Services, the book is a vast compendium of knowledge Vasil acquired while writing her “Ecoholic” column for Canada’s NOW Magazine during the past five years.
I’m far from finished reading — it’s the kind of guide you “drop into” as need arises, but find yourself lingering over long after you’ve found your answer. But I can tell you truthfully that I love this book…Read Full Article
After Bill and Cathy Schmid’s tiny daughter, Haley, died of SIDS, they wanted answers. What they learned was that Haley likely suffocated in her own exhalations when her tiny arms cradled her face as she slept. While oxygen deprivation doesn’t explain all SIDS deaths, Bill, an engineer, was determined to find a way to prevent that particular cause from ever taking another baby’s life.
He invented a crib mattress that allowed fresh air to flow up through the surface to the baby, providing a constant, gentle supply of fresh air. While the idea was good, there were problems that he hadn’t yet solved. The mattress was heavy and hard for a parent to lift without help. And it was difficult to clean. He sold a few mattresses to parents who were eager to prevent a SIDS tragedy from happening to their child. But sales were not brisk, and Bill was not satisfied with his invention…Read Full Article
“Purple Fig is a natural cleaning service in the greater Austin area — all the clean with none of the chemicals,” said owner Amanda May. “We make and use only green cleaning products, which we ship nationwide. We provide free recipes for everything we sell, and we’ll teach anyone how to make what we sell. Our goal is to create healthy, clean homes.”
A green cleaning company that gives away its trade secrets? When we heard about ecopreneur Amanda May and her Purple Fig Cleaning Cooperative, we were intrigued by both her green-cleaning methods and her business model. We wanted to know what drives a businessperson to be so generous with the information most companies would keep to themselves. We spoke with May by phone from her Austin, Texas, home.Read Full Article
It’s time for Super Bowl XLIII, and the NFL is powering the entire event with renewable energy, as well as planting trees to offset carbon created by activities related to the big game. For 16 years, “going green” has been a part of planning and producing the Super Bowl. But the Super Bowl isn’t the only green venue in the NFL world.
In a press release last October, the Dallas Cowboys, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced that the Cowboys were on a path “to be the first sports stadium to gain recognition in the EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track program.” This bold action is in conjunction with the design and construction of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which will be open for business in Arlington, Texas next summer.Read Full Article
January 26, 2009 by Julia Wasson
Filed under Air Quality, Blog, Consultants, Ecopreneurs, EMS, Engineers, Environment, Environmental Management, EPA, Front Page, Hazardous Waste, Laws, Pollution, Regulations, Sustainability, U.S.
“When I went to Ireland recently,” says environmental auditor and consultant Molly Long, “I sat in a pub with a pint of Guinness while being lectured to by an average citizen of Dublin about what environmental terrorists we Americans are. He didn’t know we were environmental consultants. It was a really interesting perspective. He said we do a terrible job of protecting the environment.”
Long is a former hazardous waste inspector for the state of Indiana. Today she is in high demand as an ISO 14001 auditor and an environmental consultant, two services she provides through A.W.E. [Agriculture. Wildlife. Environmental.] Consulting, Inc. As an enforcer of laws, an environmental auditor, and a consultant, Long has worked extensively with a wide variety of businesses, industries, and government groups. In this interview, she brings broad perspective to the topic of environmental laws and regulations.Read Full Article
January 21, 2009 by Julia Wasson
Filed under Air Quality, Blog, Climate Change, Electric Cars, Environment, Events, Front Page, GMOs, Green Living, Health, Pollution, Renewable Energy, Slideshow, U.S.
Dear Mr. President,
I am not a soldier in your army, but I am out here working in your trenches. I am not carrying a gun in Iraq or Afghanistan, but I am carrying your message. I am a retired worker, an active environmentalist and a true-blue American. I am too old to be lied to by my government anymore, but too young to lose the hope that you might be able to change things. I am too realistic to expect miracles from you, but idealistic enough to always dream of a better world.Read Full Article
There’s celebration afoot, as our nation prepares to swear in its first African American president. But tomorrow, after the last balloon has floated away, the real work will begin for our young leader. We must not expect him to do it alone.Read Full Article
Blue Planet Green Living invites our readers around the world to send us reports about the environment in their home countries. In the first of the “Notes from ….” series, we published a post from Jagdish Poudel, an environmental science student from Nepal. Today, we are pleased to share a report from Snezana Pavlovic, a 25-year-old student of Balkan languages from Niš, Serbia. “Avoiding pollution and ecology are my passion and hobby,” Snezana writes.Read Full Article
Today, I must boldly go where no cleaner has been for a long, long time — my bathroom. When guests stay, I am told to keep the door closed, if not locked.
Okay, it’s a guy thing. I consider it a good way to build my resistance to all types of bacteria. It keeps me healthy. And it’s effective at keeping the cat out of my bathroom. She used to go in there to drink from the toilet. It’s a wonder she’s alive.Read Full Article
According to the Washington Toxics Coalition, the most dangerous chemicals in the world are right under our sinks. They include corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet-bowl cleaners. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in oven, carpet, and other cleaners containing Toluene, Nitrobenzene, Chloride, Methylene, and Ethylene glycol have been shown to cause asthma, cancer, skin rashes, permanent eye damage, and serious long-term organ damage. I decided it was time for a change.Read Full Article
You wouldn’t know it by the smell, but there are 2,000 hogs living about 10 feet away from where we’re standing, in rural Johnson County, Iowa. Swine production has a reputation for producing one of the most unpleasant odors in the farm business. But with installation of a biofiltration device manufactured by Odor Cell Technologies (OCT), many hog and poultry farmers are becoming better stewards of the environment — and better neighbors.Read Full Article